Back in the late 1980s and early 90s I worked for Dr. Wei-Zen Wei at the Michigan Cancer Foundation in Detroit, Michigan.We were searching for ways of immunizing mice against a virus, which caused breast cancer in them, the Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV).This virus is a retrovirus, similar in respects to the virus that causes AIDS, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).Wei-Zen is a very kind immigrant from Taiwan.Dr. Wei is a Christian woman; unusual for the part of the world she came from. Our primary objective was to develop a vaccine against the virus, which caused breast cancer in mice. For anybody who has tried this kind of work, they know that it is very difficult. I loved this work and the challenge of designing and doing experiments and working with mice. Sometimes I felt discouraged about killing so many mice and injecting them with tumors and vaccines which were not very benign treatments, or doing procedures on them or in essence infecting them with this virus that partially depleted their immune system. Yet the Lord was with me and I felt his peace at times and realized the importance for people that our research might produce. We learned much from these experiments, and today Dr. Wei-Zen Wei is heading to Stockholm to work with her collaborators there on clinical trials of a vaccine for human breast cancer, a so called DNA vaccine. She has stuck diligently to the breast cancer vaccine work, and was always willing to share the credit for her discoveries with myself and other scientists. She reflected the generosity and humility of spirit with comes from knowing Jesus and serving him.
A lot of my work involved tissue culture and working with living cells, and this required a lot of materials. I would hazard a guess that each day in the lab I used about $500 - $1000 dollars worth of resources in my research efforts. That is the price of discovery; it requires sacrifice of wealth and time.Some of our tools were from the Falcon company, and their motto was "The Tools of Discovery". Whenever a shipment of Falcon pipettes arrived in the lab, I would announce with a sense of irony that "The Tools of Discovery are Here!"As anybody who has done basic medical research knows, discoveries are not easy to come by or frequent occurrences.We had the greatest tools that money could buy for our research, including a flow cytometer, ultracentrifuges, a nude mouse facility (a sterile environment for an immunodepressed breed of mice, a cesium irradiator (a personal favorite of mine), an electron microscope facility, all kinds of chemical and immunology materials and even drugs like IL-2 which were far more valuable than gold by weight.The purchase of this equipment and supplies was donated by people who joined together to reduce suffering and loss for other people.We used these materials in a careful and highly planned out manner. We were paid very little for the amount of training and effort the work involved. This was work done for the love of science, craftsmanship, and the esprit of the laboratory. For me, it was also for the fear of God, who made all things wonderfully.Along the way, God did bless us with some real discoveries, which kept the lab funded and contributed to the knowledge of the field of immunology and breast cancer research.
Now I am 38, and I feel in ways that I am 23 again and working back in the lab in Detroit. My wife Dr. Anita is my collaborator now. We are operating at a fraction of the cost of doing research I did fifteen years back.The Lord has revealed to us through Scripture, mentors, and visions that we are to build up the Body of Christ using health evangelism.We are using tools of medicine, science, evangelism, bible study, and in the fear of the Lord we are proceeding to make disciples of persons with none to very little education in the sciences.We are teaching our lay health builders to screen their neighbors for preventable diseases like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, central obesity, nicotine addiction, and HIV.They are using equipment, which costs about $500 dollars total for each team. We could screen for all these diseases for about $6 a person in disposable tests.Like a gold miner in Sutter's Mill California in 1849 or the Witwatersrand near Johannesburg here in South Africa a few years later, we find ourselves standing in the place with perhaps the greatest concentrations of these diseases in the world in our Indian and Zulu communities. The gold is the potential for healing and prevention of disease in mind, body and spirit in this life and eternal life through Jesus Christ.Our fellow prospectors are our lay health builders and the people in their churches empowered for ministry.Our "Tools of Discovery" are the Bible, and hand held instruments, which we can carry in a small briefcase from door to door where we are invited to minister. This is not a fixed laboratory, but rather a moving laboratory much like Jesus sending out the 72 disciples in Luke 10. We are helping people to find out if they have diseases and then letting them know what they can do to prevent disease and/or its complications and premature death.We are bringing them the information discovered by many researchers like Dr. Wei and helping people to apply it to their lives.When people wonder, we tell them about the life and healing that we have found in Jesus and invite them to experience it for themselves.
We are trusting in Jesus that the vision he has set us to will become a mighty tree which bears much fruit.We thank the churches who love Jesus and the people who have provided the funding for our "Tools of Discovery."We praise Jesus for the gifts that he has placed into our fellow prospectors for Kingdom Gold, El Dorado! I pray that Hindus, Moslems, and Zulu animists will come to know the living Jesus, and that even we can be agents of his healing touch in their lives.
Please keep those Tools of Discovery coming, so we can equip more prospectors for Kingdom Gold.To God Be the Glory!
Moving on from mice to Men,
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."Matthew 28:18 - 20